Free plastic bags at checkout counters banned from January 1

Plastic shopping bags (Photo: EdouardHue/Wikimedia Commons)Plastic shopping bags (Photo: EdouardHue/Wikimedia Commons)

A ban on free plastic bags at checkout counters takes effect on January 1st, State Secretary Sharon Dijksma of Infrastructure and Environment said to the Tweede Kamer on Thursday, ANP reports.

The idea behind the ban is to reduce litter and protect the environment. From next year disposable shopping bags will cost 25 cents. Dijksma pointed out that most consumers take their own bag if they have to pay for a disposable one. "With fewer plastic bags we reduce plastic waste. Thus less raw materials are wasted, less plastic junk end up on the street and we fight the plastic soup in the oceans", she said.

Compliance to the ban will be monitored by the Environment and Transport Inspectorate. Retailers who do not immediately comply risk a slap on the wrist and a fine if it happens again.

The PvdA is very pleased with this ban, coalition partner VVD is not. VVD parliamentarian Remco Dijkstra called the measure unnecessary and patronizing and asked for leniency in the early stages.